Dungeons & Dragons Online: Menace of the Underdark Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Warner Bros.
Release Date:2012-06-25
  • Massively Multiplayer,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
GB: With the druid being added, there will be no more core classes left to add to the game. Are you considering adding more specialty classes along the lines of the artificer down the road?

Fernando: Absolutely. Our players love new classes. It's one of the things that adds great variety to players' experiences and that they love to do for alts and things like that. Last year, we came back to classes after the previous year of focusing on new races for a little while. I'm not sure what exactly will come out in what order, but we have a queue up on the next wish list of classes and races that we want to add to the game, and we'll pull them into our road map as major features in the coming years for sure.

GB: Before we get to the expansion content this summer, I know you're planning to roll out Update 13. That will be adding a new adventure pack and pets to the game, right?

Fernando: Yes, that's right. We have "creature companions", and that's going to be our new system for cosmetic pets. And those will be first available with Update 13 and you'll see a lot more of those become available over the course of the year. Initially, they're only going to be available in limited ways and we're not quite talking about all the details there but we can talk more about that in an Update 13 preview maybe in a month or so. But we definitely have plans to make them available a lot more over the course of the year. Over the course of 2012, players will have a lot of different ways to acquire different cosmetic pets including some that'll be earned in gameplay, some that will be offered as special offers, and some that will be purchased in the DDO store. They're just a really fun casual mechanic for the game right now.

GB: Alright, just so I understand this right, the creature companions won't actually be able to participate in combat? Will any of them add a bonus to ability scores or skills or anything? If not, would you consider adding pets that offered combat bonuses or stat boosts, or will they always be purely cosmetic?

Eric: Yeah, initially they're purely cosmetic. There's room to expand what they do but they will not be a combat or stat-boosting type of pet.

Fernando: One lesson that we've learned in our many, many years of operating MMOs as a live service is "never say never". So we're not going to say they never will help in combat or offer stats, but the initial offering is meant to be purely cosmetic and it's really a collectible thing for players to have fun with and a chance for veterans to show off the various pets that they will acquire over the course of their D&D adventures. They're just a fun thing for players to talk about and show off as these little cute versions of D&D creatures that we think the players are really going to enjoy having and just showing to their friends.

GB: Will a majority of the creature companions be earned through quests in the game, or is this something you're going to primarily take advantage of on the DDO store?

Fernando: There will be quite a few of them in the DDO store, but I wouldn't say the majority. It's important for us to have lots of different types and lots of different skins and gear and things like that for the pets in the fullness of time and that'll include having an assortment of them earnable in gameplay, again, later in the year, not in the initial release.

GB: It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on what Update 13 will include, but do you anticipate releasing any other updates prior to the launch of Menace of the Underdark? Will we see an Update 14 or even an Update 15 before the summer?

Fernando: No, there probably won't be another major update before the expansion. As you can imagine, it's a very big undertaking for this expansion to make it the size we want it to be. We're talking about making it the size of several of our regular updates all bundled together and still hitting a spring release around our anniversary for Update 13. That's quite a lot for the team to do, even though we've grown the team quite significantly. But after we release the expansion pack, we will keep that large team on and, if it does very well, we intend to keep a large team on DDO and have an aggressive set of content releases to follow. And that's really great news for those players that are always going to be clamoring for more, more, more, new locales, new characters, new stories, particularly in Forgotten Realms. And we intend to continue right along that vein with an aggressive content schedule right after the expansion.